ORLC Women’s Lacrosse Championship Preview

By Justin Zackal

ORLC LogoIn the two-year history of the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference (ORLC), the women’s tournament will be hosted by a Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) school. Last year, in the league’s inaugural season as a joint venture between PAC and Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) schools, Saint Vincent earned hosting rights and won the league’s first crown.

Now it’s Washington & Jefferson’s turn. Well, at least the Presidents’ turn hosting the tournament, which they earned by going undefeated in ORLC this season. And unless Transylvania, Saint Vincent and Mount St. Joseph have anything to say about it, this could be the Presidents’ turn to win the conference title as well.

Find out by following the PAC Sports Network on Saturday which will have all the action with live video streaming of the championship game at http://www.pacstream.net.

In semifinal action, Transylvania will face Saint Vincent Friday at 1 p.m., followed by W&J vs. Mount St. Joseph at 4 p.m. The two winners will meet for the championship Saturday at 5 p.m.

Here’s a look at each team:

#1 WASHINGTON & JEFFERSON (11-4, 8-0 ORLC)The Skinny: After losing four of their first five games, the Presidents enter the tournament winning 10 straight, including victories over each of the tournament teams in succession to end the regular season. W&J snapped Transylvania’s 13-match win streak with a 10-8 triumph in Lexington, Ky., Sunday behind five goals from senior Ashley Bulger. W&J bowed out in the semifinals last year as the third seed.
 Player to Watch: Sophomore Caroline Kallos, who had six points (3 goals, 3 assists) Sunday, posted 52 points in her last six matches to break the W&J record for points in a season with 73.

 #2 TRANSYLVANIA (13-3, 7-1 ORLC)The Skinny: Transylvania is easily the highest scoring team in the ORLC with nearly 14 goals per game, while limiting opponents to 7.5, but the Pioneers have outscored the three other teams in tournament by a narrower margin, 10 to 9.7. Against the five other ORLC teams the average score is 18.2 to 5.6. Transy lost to Saint Vincent in last year’s semifinals, 17-9.
 Player to Watch:  Senior Rachel Harrison is the league’s leading goal-scorer with 64, including no fewer than four goals in her last eight matches. She logged five goals in the 10-8 loss to W&J on Sunday.

#3 SAINT VINCENT (7-9, 6-2 ORLC)The Skinny: The defending champs lost six straight nonconference games to start the season, but the Bearcats fared well in the ORLC despite losses to Transy, 14-12, and W&J, 14-6. 
 Player to Watch: Sophomore Maggie Nelson led the ORLC with 83 points, but Transy and W&J limited her to four and three points, respectively.

#4 MOUNT ST. JOSEPH (7-8, 5-3 ORLC)The Skinny: The Lions return to Washington after losing to W&J in their regular-season finale on Saturday, 10-9, despite leading 7-6 in the second half. MSJ surrendered just 6.37 goals per game in conference action, second only to W&J’s 5.63.
 Player to Watch: Junior Erica Walsh shoots more than anyone else in the league (153) and she ranks fourth with 44 goals. She scored three goals vs. W&J and five in an 8-7 loss to Transy on March 30.